Apple Growing Pains

Apple well on its way to becoming a dominant computing and personal electronics company. Apple is on the rise, and nothing is likely to change that in the near future.

That said, Apple is showing signs of growing pains. While the 3g iPhone is an amazing product (as the original was), it is starting to demonstrate some of the issues faced by even the best device and software vendors. Whether it was the uptime issues with MobileMe, the lags experienced by iPhone users, or the instability introduced by the third party software (or so they say), Apple is starting to experience some of the issues they've mocked their competitors for.

When I hear stories on the Apple podcasts I listen to (MacBreak Weekly as an example) about how reinstalling the OS on their iPhone three times helped get rid of their issues, Apple users come dangerously close to sounding like PC users. How does reinstalling the OS three times equal 'just works'? I'm yet to reinstall Vista once!

None of the issues I've heard around the new iPhone or iPhone OS are really critical. Instead, they are the little issues that are experienced by some users some of the time that can be worked around if you just do this, this, and this. Yep, that sounds like a PC user.

Apple's greatest differentiator is that their stuff 'just works'. They have a great brand right now, and they did an amazing job at decimating the public perception of Vista. If Microsoft had the guts and creativity of Apple, they could launch a scathing PR campaign mocking Apple's 'just works' philosophy, their distortion of the performance of the phone, and their issues with MobileMe. But Microsoft won't do that, and doesn't have anything that really competes.

Apple will succeed. Not because these issues are not real, but because they still have better products with a better user experience. No one else is really playing the same game as Apple.

It will be interesting to see Apple deal with these growing pains. As John Gruber points out, releasing an upgrade of the OS with the release notes simply saying 'Bug Fixes' won't fly as their user base grows.

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